Costa Azul draws adventurers -- and beach potatoes


SAN FRANCISCO, Mexico -- Costa Azul Adventure Resort is spotlighting a number of recent upgrades and new options for active clients. The property is 20 miles north of Puerto Vallarta in the small coastal fishing village of San Francisco.

Preparing for a Costa Azul surf outing under a beach hut. Costa Azul renovated and reconfigured some of its guest units and added a new restaurant. Many of the property's guest suites were repainted and redecorated, and three master suites in the main hotel were converted to six hotel suites with large terraces.

Costa Azul also is adding a sixth villa, which will accommodate a family of five people and feature a kitchenette. The villa is expected to be finished by the beginning of next year.

Plans are also on the drawing boards for more villas, casitas and suites. The property currently has 22 suites and five villas.

The new restaurant is the same palapa-style venue as the property's previous dining room, with a more updated look, a larger bar and a swim-up bar. A new menu focusing on Mexican specialties also was introduced with the completion of the restaurant.

Costa Azul expanded its lineup of off-shore excursions and mainland adventures to include surfing lessons, a hiking program to a waterfall and a sunset sail.

The surfing lessons are available through Corky Carroll's Surf School, which opened at the property this year. The school is a satellite branch of the main school of the same name in Huntington Beach, Calif. Instructors at the school, which accepts beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers, take students to ideal ocean breaks for lessons.

The property's new hiking excursion is a full-day program in which participants are transported to a site south of Puerto Vallarta that is only accessible by boat. The hike is along the coastline and through the jungle to Yelapa Waterfalls.

The new sunset sail takes place on the property's catamaran and features a journey to a private beach; wine and hors d'oeuvres are served.

Costa Azul's adventure tour lineup also includes snorkeling in the Marietas Islands, whale-watching, a river boat tour to San Blas and La Tovara, mountain biking and sea kayaking. Optional activities such as diving, sportfishing and golf also are available.

Costa Azul aims to cater to adventurous clients seeking plenty of activity in a remote setting, according to Molly McDonough, director of marketing for the property. "It is a place where guests can take part in adventurous activities, but also get away from it all and relax by the pool without thousands of tourists around," McDonough said. The resort mainly attracts couples and families, she added.

Accommodations are designed in a traditional Mexican style with no TVs or telephones. "The experience revolves around enjoying the jungle and the ocean, and relaxing," McDonough said.

Costa Azul offers a number of packages focusing on adventure, surfing, romance and kids' activities. Included are the Adventure program, which features accommodations, unlimited participation in adventure activities and excursions available at the property (including the surf school), and all meals, beer and wine.

Through Dec. 15, the nightly rate starts at $98 per person, double. Under a promotion available for travel through May 2000, guests booking the Adventure package for stays from Wednesday to Wednesday or Saturday to Saturday will receive the seventh night free.

A five-night honeymoon package, priced at $1,200 per couple, includes accommodations in an oceanview villa; all meals, beer and wine; a candlelight dinner on the beach; a honeymoon adventure; participation in all of the resort's adventure activities, and a Lovers Prosperity basket.

For children, Costa Azul offers a Kid's Adventure package, which allows youngsters aged 3 to 12 to learn about the jungle, ocean, wildlife and local culture through various activities and excursions. The nightly cost is $54 per child.

Room-only rates at Costa Azul start at $75 per night.

Costa Azul Adventure Resort
Phone: (800) 365-7613

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